Top Greek UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The iconic ancient structure of Acropolis and its monuments are symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex left by Greek Antiquity to the world. This structure is the place where it is believed democracy was created in the second half of the 5th-century BC. In the age that followed, as thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists put into effect the ambitious plans of Athenian statesman Pericles and, under the inspired guidance of the sculptor Pheidias, transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thought and the arts. The Acropolis also served as a place to honor Athena, the goddess of justice and wisdom.
Archeological Site of Delphi
The Archaeological site of Delphi is full of glorious history from about 3,000 years ago. The most famous remains is Apollo's sanctuary, where a stone marks the "center of the world", as considered by the ancient Greeks. Apollo's priestess Pythia was known to live here, advising kings before all major actions (like the unfortunate Persian war). This site was also believed to be a place where Apollo once spoke so it’s filled with religious art and statues. Besides being used as a religious center, it also served as a place where many ancient athletic games once took place. The city of Delphi also attracts visitors due to its splendid location, on the slopes of Mount Parnassus; spring offers a magnificent view, combining both wildflowers and snow.
Archeological Site of Olympia
The archeological site of Olympia, in the valley in the Peloponnesus, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C. Olympia became a center for the worship of Zeus. The Altis (the sanctuary to the gods) has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek World. This site also offered to the world one of the most important ancient Greek heritages: the Olympic Games that took place at the athletic complex every four years beginning in 776 B.C. Fifteen minutes from the ancient site is the modern village, filled with many shops of jewelry and reproduction of antiquities. The statue of Zeus in the ancient temple of Olympia was one of the world’s seven wonders, unfortunately, it did not survive, antique artifacts are preserved at the archaeological museum.
Medieval City of Rhodes
The historic city of Rhodes has been the site of many conflicts and battles. It was once under rule by the Turkish and Italian armies and this is evident with the various architectural styles and artifacts found here. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital and the Street of the Knights, the Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period. In the Lower Town, Gothic architecture coexists with mosques, public baths and other buildings dating from the Ottoman period.
Old Town of Corfu
Located on the Island of Corfu off the western coasts of Albania and reece, the Old Town of Corfu is strategically positioned at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, and has its roots in the 8th century B.C. Because this town was an important port city back in the day, its architecture and city design has a massive Venetian influence due to the many Italian merchants who would often visit here. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the Old Town is partly from the Venetian period, partly of later construction, notably the 19th century. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu’s urban and port ensemble is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity.
Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki is an open air museum of ancient memories, Roman influences and Byzantine fascinations that make up a uniquely charming mosaic. Founded in 315 B.C., the provincial capital and sea port of Thessaloniki was one of the first bases for the spread of Christianity, as seen in the fine Christian monuments. Constructed over a long period, from the 4th to the 15th century, the monuments constitute a diachronic typological series, which had considered influence in the Byzantine world. UNESCO has declared 15 Early Christian and Byzantine “ornaments” of Thessaloniki as World Heritage Sites, recognizing the city as one of the most important to the historical memory of humankind.
Delos, Cyclades Islands
Delos, an island part of the Cyclades Islands, is one of the largest archeological sites in the world. According to Greek mythology, Apollo was born on this tiny island in the Cyclades archipelago. Appollos’ sanctuary attracted pilgrims from all over Greece and Delos was a prosperous trading port. The island houses several historic artifacts which can help you learn more about its unique history. For instance, the island was so sacred, due to it being Apollo’s birthplace, that no one on the island could be born or die on it.
Kalambaka (The Meteora)
Meteora is a fascinating place not only because of its history but also because of its landscape. This unique site boasts towering sandstone formations. On the top edges of these natural structures, you’ll find several different monasteries. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, at the time of great revival of the eremetic ideal in the 15th century. One popular monastery you can visit is the 14th-century Varlaam Monastery which is one of the biggest in Meteora. Another one is St. Stephen’s Monastery which can only be accessed by you traveling across a small bridge that connects two rock formations together.
Archeological site of Mycenae and Tiryns
These fascinating archeological ruins are located in the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean work from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and contributed a huge role in the development of classical Greek culture. These two cities are linked to the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which have influenced European art and literature for more than three millennia.
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
Located in a small valley in the Peloponnesus, the sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurau, is a sacred place used for ceremonial medical practices as far back as the 2nd millennium BC, the site was also associated with the cult of Apollo in the 8th century BC. It made a significant contribution to medical evolution and advancement. Its principal monuments, particularly the temple of Asklepios, the Tholos and the Theatre (considered one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture) date from the 4th century. The vast site, with its temples and hospital buildings devoted to its healing gods, provides valuable insight into the healing cults of Greek and Roman times.
Epidaurus is considered by many to be the birthplace of modern medicine. It began as a sanctuary dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius. People, who suffered from illnesses, travelled long distances to be blessed by the deity. Over the years, the holy men at the site began using herbs, cleansing rituals, and other techniques that transformed the treatment from divine to scientific. The knowledge developed here became the basis for future medical innovations.
Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae
High on a mountaintop in the Peloponnese, the 5th-century BC Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae is among the least known, least accessible, and most fascinating of all Greek temples. The temple, which has the oldest Corinthian capital yet found, combines the Archaic style and the serenity of the Doric style with some unique architectural features.
The Archaeological Site Of Mystras
Built in the 13th-century, Mystras flourished as a town where artists and intellectuals of the time could stay and speak about their new ideas and projects. It is nestled between rolling hills and you’ll find several beautiful cypress trees dotted throughout the landscape. You can stroll through the area while also exploring the ruins of this town. You can visit a few monasteries, a castle, and a nearby museum which is home to many artifacts that were found buried here.